Protecting yourself from scams during the holiday season

Protecting yourself from scams during the holiday season

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Around the holiday season, it’s important to stay alert, especially when making purchases or if someone says you’ve won something.

Helen Jackson said if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Her advice is to ask questions, take notes, and trust no one.

“I ain’t no fool," she said. From the very first phone call, she knew something wasn’t right.

“You just won a million dollars, and a car and such and such, and such and such,” Jackson said. The people on the other end of the phone claimed Jackson won the Mega Millions International Sweepstakes, but there was a catch.

“I need you to go get a certificate card,” Jackson said, “an Android or an Apple card. I said okay, what do you want me to do? He said I want you to put $100 on it. I said a $100? I said no, I don’t think so.”

Jackson said she contacted Michele Mason at the Better Business Bureau, bringing her all the notes she took during her phone calls with the so-called sweepstakes company.

“If someone contacts you and tells you, you won something or they’re trying to send you a package or anything related to the holidays," then they want you to give them the number off of a gift card for payment, don’t give that information out. They can just go online and download the funds. There will be no paper trail and no way to get your funds back,” Mason said.

Jackson said, “in other words baby, this is all a scam.”

There are a number of ways you can protect yourself from scams this holiday season.

“Especially if you’re on the phone, be cautious about how you’re being asked to pay for something, whether you buy something or contributing something, we suggest you use your credit card because that’s the safest way you can do a transaction,” Mason said.

“Do like I did, ask plenty of questions, ask where you’re located at, and when they say go borrow money, drop the phone and hang it up,” Jackson added.

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